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Victory remains elusive for Amy Yang

The LPGA veteran’s hopes are on her 11th Women’s Open
July 13,2017
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Amy Yang during the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club, Illinois. Starting today, Yang will play in her 11th U.S. Women’s Open. [JOONGANG PHOTO]
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Since Pak Se-ri first won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1998, six Korean golfers have won the event a total of seven times. But despite the strength of Korean golfers in women’s golf’s most prestigious event, Amy Yang probably had the least amount of luck when it came to winning the U.S. Women’s Open and major tournaments.

Yang recorded 16 top ten finishes from 46 major tournaments since her debut in 2006, but hasn’t won any. Currently, Yang is ranked ninth in the Rolex World Ranking and the eight players ahead of her have each won at least one major tournament. In other words, Yang is the best female golfer without a major tournament victory.

At the U.S. Women’s Open, the LPGA tour’s oldest and the most prestigious tournament, Yang recorded six top ten finishes. Since 2010, Yang recorded a more than impressive scoring average of 71.5, as the tournament is hosted at one of the toughest golf courses in the United States. And in Yang’s three recent U.S. Women’s Open finishes, she finished inside the top five, finishing third, second and fourth.

During the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, Yang concluded the tournament at seven under par, one shot short of setting a tournament record. Despite the low scores, Yang wasn’t able to win, as Chun In-gee, who competed in the tournament as a non-LPGA tour member, finished the tournament one shot better than Yang to set the tournament record that same year. Still, Yang’s seven under par remains the lowest U.S. Women’s Open score that failed to win.

That wasn’t the first time Yang came up just short of winning the tournament. During the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, Yang started the final round tied for the lead with Michelle Wie of the United States. Though Wie was going through a slump, during the final round, she played one of her best rounds of the season and win the tournament. Yang has never won the tournament but earned more than $1.5 million by participating in ten U.S. Women’s Opens.

“Yang is a long hitter, but at the same time, is consistent with her drives,” said Park Won, JTBC Golf commentator. “She also has great putting and short game skills, which makes her the perfect player for the U.S. Open, where the tournaments tests the every ability of the golfers.”

Yang’s great patience may be another factor that allows her to have consistent finishes at the U.S. Women’s Open. Since the U.S. Women’s Opens are hosted at courses with tight fairways, deep roughs and hard greens, patience is a needed factor.

“Rather than a course where I can make more than 20 birdies throughout the four rounds,” she said, “I want to play at a harder course, where it’s not easy to make a par-save.”

Now, Yang is considered a veteran LPGA tour player, where the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, is her 11th U.S. Women’s Open.

“The pars threes are really long,” Yang said. “And the undulations on the greens exceed the level of the courses I played in other tournaments.”

All four rounds will be aired live on the JTBC Golf channel.

BY SUNG HO-JUN [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]